But what about the guys whose suits have real merit? For example, an inmate in Hubby’s prison recently sued the institution because there wasn’t an adequate fire escape. He didn’t seek monetary damages, he just wanted the escape to be updated. Charging inmates for filing suits would harm not only the ones who abuse it, but the ones who use the system correctly to correct real problems.
I’m a pretty liberal guy, so I agree with that, but I wouldn’t have any objection to imposing some sort of controls. Like, “If a three judge appellate panel deems your lawsuit to be pointless and frivolous, your sentence is doubled. If you’re a lifer (so there’d be no point to doubling your sentence), two frivolous suits causes your entitlement to file free suits to be revoked.” Something like that.
I don’t know about that. Simply because someone has filed several frivolous lawsuits doesn’t mean that they won’t ever have a reason to file one that isn’t. I’d rather see judges presiding over cases filed by inmates be given the option to revoke their waiver of filing fees if they judge the specific case to be frivilous. And even then it would be a bit… daunting, I’d think, for most of the legitimate lawsuits.